Moeen Ali made an important breakthrough on the first afternoon as England battled to keep their Ashes prospects alive at Emirates Old Trafford.

After sending Australia in to bat in increasingly placid conditions, Ben Stokes saw the tourists reach 187 for four at tea on day one in Manchester.

With rain predicted to be a factor over the weekend, that just about keeps the home side in touch as they look to force the win they need to take the series to a decider at the Kia Oval next week but the margin for error is slim.

Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes took care of Australia’s openers in the morning, the former moving to 599 career wickets, but Australia’s middle order threatened to drag the game away after lunch.

Mark Wood successfully removed Steve Smith to check that progress but a stand of 63 between Marnus Labuschagne (51) and Travis Head (47no) was beginning to become a major headache.

Then, 10 minutes before the interval, Moeen found enough spin to turn one past Labuschagne’s inside edge and win an lbw decision via DRS.

Labuschagne had just celebrated his first half-century of the series and was starting to show flickers of the form that, until recent weeks, saw him occupy top spot in the ICC’s world batting rankings.

The suggestion of early spin from Moeen also had the effect of casting question marks over Australia’s team selection, having dropped Todd Murphy and gone in without a specialist spinner for the first time in 120 Tests.

England hopes of rounding up quick Australian wickets met with resistance at Emirates Old Trafford, where the tourists reached 107 for two on the first morning of the fourth Ashes Test.

In placid batting conditions Ben Stokes gambled by sending Australia in first, motivated by his side’s 2-1 deficit in the series and the threat of a weekend washout, but in need of early breakthroughs to justify the call.

Stuart Broad responded by taking out in-form opener Usman Khawaja for three, moving to 599 Test wickets in the process, but England managed only one more before lunch when Chris Woakes had David Warner caught behind for 32.

Neither Marnus Labuschagne (29no) nor Steve Smith (33no) started convincingly, but the pair survived to score briskly in the last half-hour and leave the home side needing some afternoon inspiration.

For the fourth time in a row Australia skipper Pat Cummins called wrong at the toss, leaving Stokes to make his margin call.

He handed Broad an immediate chance to tighten his grip over Warner, having snapped him up for the 17th time at Headingley last time out.

The left-hander, who survived heavy scrutiny over his place this week, bagged two ducks on this ground on his last visit four years ago but ruled out a repeat performance off the first ball of the game, slapping a wide loosener from Broad through cover for four.

The crowd were eager to see the returning James Anderson make his mark at the end that bears his name but, despite a typically solid start, it was Broad who got things going.

Nobody has batted longer or made more runs in the series than Khawaja, but he was first fall on this occasion, plumb lbw to a full ball angled in from round the wicket.

Labuschagne has had a much leaner time of it and his struggles continued initially, comprehensively beaten on the outside edge by Anderson on nought and completely misreading an inswinger from Broad moments later.

The arrival of Mark Wood dialled up the pace but, unlike the previous match, Australia managed to use it to their advantage.

His four-over spell went for 21 – as well as four byes – and a thick edge to third man from Labuschagne was as close as he got to a breakthrough.

Instead, it was Woakes who checked Warner’s growing confidence. Setting up camp outside his off stump and drawing a couple of poor shots, he eventually pushed his length a fraction fuller. Warner drove, snicked through to Jonny Bairstow and was on his way.

Smith was next up and almost gifted England a chance with an opening stroke that was entirely out of character.

He stepped inside the line of his first ball from Woakes, hooking straight towards Wood at fine-leg. Had he been stationed on the rope it would have been a regulation catch, but he was several metres in and saw the ball clear his despairing dive en route to a one-bounce four.

The runs began to flow with greater ease as lunch approached, both batters showing greater control and a two-over spell from Moeen Ali costing 17.

England defender Lucy Bronze said the Lionesses are feeling “empowered” ahead of their World Cup opener after releasing a statement addressing the players’ ongoing row with the Football Association (FA) over bonus payments and other commercial concerns.

In a message from the team posted on social media by captain Millie Bright, the Lionesses said they were “disappointed that a resolution has still not been achieved” but would “pause discussions, with full intentions of revisiting them following the tournament”, which begins for England on Saturday against Haiti in Brisbane.

Bronze, speaking at England’s team hotel on Wednesday, was adamant that the decision to go public about the situation was motivated not just by personal financial benefits but wider principles, and maintained she is “one hundred per cent confident that we will not be distracted by this”.

Bronze said: “I think the players are feeling very empowered. I think it’s the first time as a player group we’ve actually ever sent the message out ourselves, that we’ve collectively done together and set our sights on. So I think in that respect it’s been a very empowered player group last night and this morning and these past few weeks.

“I feel like we felt it was important that we sent the message out, because there has been some talks (and) we want to show that we’re focused for the World Cup, that is our main focus.

“It’s super sad that we have these issues. I think that again, this was something that we spoke about as an England group. We’re not only doing this for ourselves, we’re doing it so that we can set a standard.”

The Lionesses join players from teams including France, Spain, Jamaica, Nigeria, Canada and co-hosts Australia who have in recent months expressed concerns over issues ranging from pay to personnel in their own federations and beyond.

Bronze continued: “It’s unfortunate that it has come before the World Cup, but at the same time, it’s because the World Cup gives us the big stage. It’s when people want to listen to us, it’s when things really matter.

“And that’s why so many teams now are coming out and speaking about it, because it’s the only moment that they get the stage or the opportunity to speak out, which is unfortunate.”

For the first time in a Women’s World Cup, players will be guaranteed performance-related remuneration directly from FIFA, with amounts increasing the deeper teams go in the tournament.

In addition, the Lionesses were also understood to be frustrated by a lack of clarity over what their cut from any commercial deals done by the FA linked to the team will be, as well as the restrictions around their personal sponsorships.

The PA news agency has contacted the FA for comment.

Bronze said the Lionesses benefit from a generally amiable relationship with the FA that leaves the squad feeling optimistic that they can reach an agreement without taking more dramatic steps, like threatening to boycott their Nations League fixtures, set to follow the World Cup in September.

She said: “I don’t think we made any threats as players, I think we’re quite well spoken. And we know how to kind of stand our ground – I can’t say the conversations ever got to be that heated.”

At the same time, Bronze suggested she and her team-mates deserved more, particularly after their victory at last summer’s Euros led to a paradigm shift for women and girls’ football in England, from a 173 per cent uptick in Women’s Super League attendance to a surge in participation at the grassroots level.

She added: “There’s constantly another level and another step you can take. Whether that’s commercially – or on or off the pitch. Whether that’s performance-based, it’s being rewarded for the things you have done.

“We are the European Champions. We have changed the game massively in England, so we want everything to fall in line. If we are going to do well on the pitch, then you would expect things to follow.”

Ben Stokes insists his England side are ready to give everything they have to level the Ashes and take a memorable series all the way to the wire.

The hosts find themselves 2-1 down after three pulsating games, losing tight finishes at Edgbaston and Lord’s before coming through strongly at Headingley to keep their hopes of regaining the urn alive.

Another win this week at Emirates Old Trafford would tee up a winner-takes-all decider at the Kia Oval, while Australia are looking to seal an outright victory on English soil for the first time in 22 years.

The stakes are clear for both teams, but England have the added wrinkle of knowing a rain-affected draw would be enough for Australia to retain the urn as holders.

The weather forecast predicts things to take a turn for the worse over the weekend, meaning much of the running will need to be done in the first three days.

“Everything is on the line. The team knows there’s no point holding anything back in this game,” Stokes said.

“Everyone is going to go out there this week and throw absolutely everything at it. If we were to shy away from the task at hand, then I think that wouldn’t get my best out of us as a team in terms of the personnel that we have at the moment.

“Obviously knowing we need to win this one, knowing that we could have a bit of weather around taking some time out of the game, that probably suits us even more to be honest.

“It would be amazing (to go 2-2), that last game would be everywhere. If that does happen and we do go to The Oval level, we’ll be challenging 2005 for one of the best series in England.”

Australia abandon spin

In 1993 at the Old Trafford, the late Shane Warne delivered his famous ‘ball of the century’ to dismiss Mike Gatting. Thirty years down the line and Australia have decided to go in without a specialist spin bowler for the first time in 120 Tests. The last time they picked an XI without a specialist slow bowler was against India in January 2012, when they went for an all-seam attack at the WACA. Nathan Lyon would have been certain to play had he not torn a calf at Lord’s, but his stand-in, Todd Murphy, was only trusted with 10 overs in the third Test and has been axed in favour of the returning Cameron Green.

Anderson eyes the honours board

James Anderson has taken five wickets in an innings 32 times in his Test career, more than any other English bowler in history. Yet he has never managed it at his home ground, despite having the Pavilion End renamed after him. His best figures of four for 38 came against South Africa in 2017 and the 40-year-old would dearly love to go one better and etch his name on the honours board in what could be his final appearance here. He struggled to make an impression on docile surfaces in the first two Tests and will be eager to make his mark.

Broad’s latest landmark

Anderson’s new-ball partner Stuart Broad is the top wicket-taker in the series with 16 and needs just two more to reach the magical figure of 600. That would make him the fifth member in one of cricket’s most exclusive clubs. David Warner accounts for 17 of Broad’s scalps and the Englishman will be licking his lips at the prospect of renewing that rivalry after the left-hander was spared the axe.

Social media moment

After Sir Alastair Cook incorrectly implicated Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey in failing to pay a barber in Leeds, despite the gloveman not having his hair cut, Carey finally took the plunge and got his locks trimmed in Manchester. Steve Smith was on hand to vouch for his payment.

Data point

Nat Sciver-Brunt was the hero again as England claimed a Women’s Ashes series draw with a 69-run win over Australia on the DLS method in the final ODI in Taunton.

Victory saw the multi-series format drawn 8-8, the same score as when England last avoided Ashes defeat in Australia five years ago, and meant England had won both the ODI and Twenty20 series 2-1.

Australia had retained the Ashes by winning the second ODI in Southampton on Sunday.

Fresh from her unbeaten 111 at Southampton, Sciver-Brunt made her second hundred in the space of three days – 129 from 149 balls – as Australia were set a challenging 286 for victory.

Batting of the highest order also secured Sciver-Brunt a fourth century from five ODIs against Australia, and the seventh of her England career in this format.

Australia’s target was reduced to 269 from 44 overs by rain and, despite Ashleigh Gardner providing brief hope with a bludgeoning 41 from 24 balls, England ran out comfortable winners to the delight of a capacity crowd.

England, having lost the toss, were soon in trouble as openers Sophia Dunkley and Tammy Beaumont departed with just 12 runs on the board.

Captain Heather Knight and Sciver-Brunt rose to the challenge of repairing the innings, leading England to 43 for two by the end of the first powerplay after 10 overs.

Runs came freely with Knight finding gaps in the field with ease and Sciver-Brunt, who survived a stumping review off Gardner on 25, landing a six on the boundary cushion with imperious precision.

But with McGrath spilling a return chance off Sciver-Brunt, then on 54, the third-wicket partnership was worth 147 when Knight advanced down the wicket to Alana King and was bowled for 67, her 72-ball stay containing six fours and a six.

Alice Capsey dragged Jess Jonassen to long-on for five but huge roars greeted Sciver-Brunt as she reached three figures off 126 balls.

England entered the final 10 overs seeking to accelerate and Danni Wyatt played the perfect cameo with a whirlwind 43 from 25 balls before being bowled attempting to cut a full-length ball from Gardner.

Amy Jones was run out for six and Sciver-Brunt’s resistance finally ended in the 48th over as Jonassen tempted an airborne pull into the safe hands of Gardner.

The latter then won an lbw review against Charlie Dean to finish with three for 39 and Jonassen also collected a third scalp by castling Kate Cross as England closed on 285 for nine.

Australia, as England had done, lost two early wickets. Phoebe Litchfield fell for one to Lauren Bell, with Sophie Ecclestone accepting a low chance at first slip, and Alyssa Healy was cleaned up by a beauty from Cross as Australia slipped to 15 for two.

Tahlia McGrath appeared well set on 26 as Australia steadied the ship, but Ecclestone’s flight deceived her and Jones completed a smart stumping.

The players were forced off by rain with Australia 97 for three after 19.2 overs, with England facing potential heartbreak as they needed to bowl 20 overs to constitute a completed match.

But the players were back on the field 54 minutes later, with Australia’s revised target asking them to score at seven runs an over.

Ellyse Perry, having reached her half-century with a free-hit six, provided a steepling catch to Capsey off Cross on 53, and Beth Mooney drove straight to Ecclestone at mid-off to give Cross a third victim.

Australia were given hope as Gardner went on the offensive, taking 17 from a Bell over, but her acceptance of a risky second after Sutherland drove through the covers proved fatal as she was just short of her ground when Cross took the bails off from Wyatt’s throw.

Australia never recovered as Jones produced another excellent stumping to remove Wareham for 14 and Dean, called up with Sarah Glenn needing surgery for appendicitis, bowled Sutherland for 18.

King went for nought as Jones held a towering catch and England’s win was completed as Bell held a thick edge from Jonassen at short third.

Ben Stokes admitted England’s predicament in the Ashes means keeping one eye on the weather forecast and the possibility of an even bolder approach in the fourth Test.

England battled their way back into the series at Headingley with a three-wicket win to now trail 2-1 but they must prevail at both Emirates Old Trafford and the Kia Oval to regain the urn from Australia.

Complicating matters for the hosts is the heavy rain predicted in Manchester on days four and five this weekend, which could hasten England to try to push the game along to make sure of a result.

Under captain Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum in the last 13 months, England have frequently thrown convention out of the window in an effort to win not only matches but also hearts and minds.

Aggressive batting and daring declarations have been among the distinctive features in the reign of Stokes, who would not rule out getting even funkier in his approach if the weather intervenes.

“You never want to look too much into the weather but in the position we find ourselves in, we find we might have to,” Stokes said.

“We know we have to win this game to take it to the last game for us to have a chance of getting the urn back.

“Going into the last game 2-0 down, we knew we had to win that so I think that helped us a little bit.

“Maybe again with the weather that’s predicted, it might bring more out of us again knowing that we might have to push the game on even more than we normally do. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

The Women’s Ashes are running concurrently and while England are out of the running to beat Australia, Heather Knight described a series that has captured the public imagination and drawn record crowds as the “best ever”.

The momentum in the male equivalent has seesawed – not only from day to day but often from hour to hour – and Stokes acknowledged victory this week which would set up a decider would go a long way to determining how fondly this series is remembered.

“If we win this one then going into the last game at 2-2, it would be hard not to say this is the best men’s Ashes series in a long time, if not the best,” he said.

“Overall, take away Australia and England, the cricket that’s been played has been absolutely brilliant.

“Everyone who’s watched at the ground or at home on TV has just really enjoyed the cricket that’s been played.

“There have been some pretty special moments out on the cricket ground, some special individual performances as well. I guess that’s what you want from sport.”

England’s record wicket-taker James Anderson will return at his home ground and where he has an end named in his honour, as he replaces Ollie Robinson in the only change from Headingley.

He has took just three wickets at an average of 75 in the first two matches before missing out in the third Test, but Stokes has no concerns about the Lancastrian, arguing his value cannot be measured in wickets alone.

“When you’re quality performer like Jimmy has been for the last 10 years, he is going to be disappointed that he’s not contributed to the team like he normally does,” Stokes added.

“But I did say to him ‘even if you’re not taking wickets like you want to be doing, at the other end you see the pressure you’re putting on the opposition’.

“He holds an end up without that being his main obligation with the ball. You don’t get as many wickets as him without having the odd bad game here and there – there’s no issues whatsoever with Jimmy.”

The men’s Ashes is tantalisingly poised with Australia 2-1 ahead with two to play and England on the up after a stirring victory at Headingley.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the key issues ahead of the fourth Test.

Eyes on the skies

While it is never wise to stick too slavishly to the British weather forecast, it is impossible to ignore the likelihood of rain intervening in this match. Showers are predicted to play a part throughout but there is a particular concern over the weekend, when things are set to get extremely wet. That could play into Australia’s hands given a drawn match would see them retain the urn. England, on the other hand, need two more victories to win it back and are likely to be open to generating a result even if it means taking a gamble. With different motivations it remains to be seen whether there will be enough time and enough will to reach a fitting conclusion.

Australia to bin the spin?

The tourists are leaving it late to settle an unexpected selection quandary, with first-choice all-rounder Cameron Green fit again after Headingley and his temporary stand-in Mitchell Marsh effectively undroppable with a brilliant century as understudy. There was speculation that off-form opener David Warner could be the man to make way but it increasingly seems that spinner Todd Murphy is the man at risk. Australia have not gone into a Test without a frontline slow bowler since January 2012 but with Nathan Lyon injured and his deputy considered more dispensable they are pondering a significant change to the balance of their side. Deploying Green and Marsh would bolster their batting and make them harder to bowl out twice but leave their options in the field much diminished.

Three is the Moeen number

The number three position has caused plenty of headaches for England over the years and familiar questions resurfaced when incumbent Ollie Pope dislocated his shoulder at Lord’s. After a one-innings experiment with Harry Brook, Moeen Ali volunteered for a surprise promotion in the Headingley chase. Despite being bowled for just five he has now been inked in at first drop, allowing the likes of Brook, Joe Root and Ben Stokes to bat in their preferred positions lower down. It is a big ask for the all-rounder, who initially agreed to return from retirement as a number eight and averages 15.75 from his four knocks this summer, but this England side are not averse to a gamble.

Age concern for England?

When it comes to taking wickets England have made sure they will not lack for experience in Manchester. Their five main bowlers for this Test have a combined age of 180, with James Anderson returning to the fray less than a fortnight before his 41st birthday. Their side is the first to go into an Ashes Test with four pace bowlers aged 33 or above since the Australian class of 1928, but few England fans would argue with the composition of the attack on current form. Moeen suggested the hosts are hoping to prove the adage that “old is gold” and Anderson would love nothing more than making that point. He has never taken a Test five-for at his home ground and is unlikely to have too many more shots at the honours’ board.

Will Jonny be good

England have rowed in hard behind Jonny Bairstow as wicketkeeper, rendering Ben Foakes’ imperious glovework surplus to requirements. Bairstow has had an eventful series as he continues to feel his way back from a badly broken leg – locking horns with a Just Stop Oil protester, being controversially stumped by Alex Carey and facing constant scrutiny over his keeping. But the bare facts are that he has let eight chances pass him by. That has materially hindered England’s prospects and nobody will know better than him that he needs to reach a higher level this week. He has a long track record of performing best when under pressure and his fight-or-flight response will be needed again.

The Ashes series resumes on Wednesday at Old Trafford with another must-win clash for England, who trail 2-1 to Australia after three Tests.

Ben Stokes’ side kept the series alive at Headingley thanks to 75 runs from Harry Brook before Chris Woakes and Mark Wood’s thrilling partnership saw them over the line to seal a three-wicket win.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the biggest moments in Ashes history at Old Trafford.


England and Australia played their first Test at Old Trafford in 1884 and the match finished in a draw, which is a common theme when it comes to Ashes Tests held in Manchester.

The hosts won for the first time in 1886 and Australia’s first success at the ground came 10 years later in 1896.

Following England’s innings victory in 1905, Manchester’s Ashes Tests then ended in stalemate for 51 years as eight consecutive matches were drawn.

England eventually broke the streak in 1956 in style thanks to Jim Laker’s astonishing 19-wicket haul, but the 1960s saw Australia earn two wins at the ground before the hosts exerted a nine-year period of dominance with three successive Ashes wins.

Ian Botham steered England to victory in 1981, but that is their last taste of Ashes success at Old Trafford as the momentum shifted in Australia’s favour with three consecutive wins in the late ’80s and ’90s.

Overall, Australia’s win in 2019 gives the visitors an edge with eight Ashes victories in Manchester compared to England’s seven, but the draws reign supreme with 15 in total.

‘Ball of the Century’

Old Trafford Ashes Tests have thrown up plenty of magical moments and some wizardry from the late Shane Warne to dismiss Mike Gatting in 1993 ranks right up there.

A young Warne, aged just 23, announced himself on the world stage with his first ever delivery in Ashes cricket.

The ball released by the spinner looked to be well outside leg stump, but twisted and turned to bamboozle Gatting as the bails came away from his off stump.

Later dubbed the ‘Ball of the Century’, Warne’s incredible wicket kicked off a 15-year playing career for the Australian great, ending with 708 Test wickets.

Old Trafford heroes

Warne is not the only spinner to have stunned crowds at Old Trafford after Jim Laker etched his name in the history books with his incredible 19-wicket haul in 1956.

The off-spinner took nine for 37 in the first innings as Australia were reduced to 84 all out and after England enforced the follow-on, Laker went one better, earning 10 for 53 to seal victory by an innings and 170 runs.

Botham also enjoyed his share of success in 1981, scoring a magnificent 118 alongside half-centuries from Chris Tavare, Alan Knott and John Emburey, setting Australia a mammoth target of 506 in the second innings.

Three wickets from Bob Willis and two from all-rounder Botham then saw England retain the Ashes in Manchester.

The great 2005 Ashes Test also produced some tense moments with the match going down to the wire as last-wicket pair Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath survived four overs to keep the series level.

Last time out

The last Ashes Test staged at Old Trafford saw the visitors retain the urn, their first time doing so on English soil in 18 years.

After winning the toss and opting to bat, Steve Smith returned from his concussion absence to put Australia in the driving seat with an astonishing 211 from 319 balls in the first innings, and some impressive batting from Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon kept the scoreboard ticking before declaring three runs short of 500.

Despite efforts from Rory Burns and captain Joe Root combined with the Manchester weather which delayed day three, England fell 196 runs short of their target thanks to some tidy bowling from Josh Hazlewood.

Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer rattled through the Australian top order before Smith was dismissed by Jack Leach and the tourists declared with a lead of 382.

A tense final day saw England attempt to bat for an unlikely draw, but Australia sealed their 185-run victory when Craig Overton was out lbw from Hazlewood after facing 105 balls for 21.

Nat Sciver-Brunt feels drawing the Women’s Ashes series would reward the progress that England have made this summer.

Australia, the world’s number one side, retained the Ashes on Sunday with a tense three-run victory in the second ODI at the Ageas Bowl, taking an unassailable 8-6 lead in the multi-format series.

But England would level matters by winning the final ODI game in Taunton on Tuesday and secure a second series win to boot after prevailing 2-1 in the T20 matches.

“For the series to be drawn on points it would bring some pride to our performances and the way we’ve gone about things,” said all-rounder Sciver-Brunt.

“It would definitely be (consolation for not winning the Ashes) and another series win would certainly have a nice ring to it.

“The way we’ve gone about things has been positive and our mindset doesn’t change too much from that.

“We’ll make sure we’re in a good place and park our feelings from Sunday, using that ODI series win potentially as a motivator.”

England captain Heather Knight described this Women’s Ashes battle as the “best ever series” after England’s heart-breaking defeat in Southampton.

Sciver-Brunt, who almost got the hosts over the line on Sunday with an unbeaten 111 from 99 balls, believes the series has left a lasting legacy on women’s cricket in England.

She said: “It’s the first time we’ve played at big grounds and there has been a new strategy of going about marketing. It has been a bit of a game-changer.

“Hopefully that can continue when it’s not such a big series on the line and we can draw that same excitement about our team and the way we play, not just depending on the opponent.”

Australia’s Alana King responded to the tourists retaining the Ashes by saying she did not see the gap between the two sides “closing any time soon”.

Sciver-Brunt insists the margins are smaller – “we’re not that far apart but on the pressure moments they’ve got the edge on us a little bit” – and believes England have exceeded the public’s expectations, if not their own, by making the series such a competitive affair.

Her heroics on Sunday almost kept England’s hopes alive and she said of that fabulous knock: “I’m not really sure it’s sunk in for me yet.

“When you get a good score and end up on the losing side it’s a bit of a weird feeling, you’re not really sure how to respond to it.

“I looked up at the scoreboard and suddenly I was on 40. It felt like it was just happening, I wasn’t focused on the score or anything like that.

“I was just in the moment. It seemed to pass me by until the last 10 or 12 overs when I needed to switch on to the scoreboard a little bit more.

“We want to put on a performance like that in such a big moment, so I was happy in that context. But you’re pretty disappointed not to get over the line being so close and not to win back the Ashes is another layer of that.”

James Anderson has got the nod to return to England’s Ashes line-up on his home ground of Old Trafford, while Moeen Ali will bat at number three in an otherwise-unchanged side.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the statistical significance of both decisions.

“Bowling from the James Anderson End…”

Anderson took only three wickets in the first two Tests of this series before sitting out at Headingley but his return at his home for his 23-year county career, where he has even emulated fellow Lancashire and England seam bowling great Brian Statham by having an end named after him, was surely inevitable.

His Test record on the ground adds to his case, with 37 wickets at an average of 22.03 in his 10 previous appearances.

That does not include any five-wicket innings, though he took four for 38 – and seven for 54 in the match – against South Africa in 2017 and another four-wicket haul against New Zealand in 2008.

It will be only Anderson’s second Ashes Test at Old Trafford. The first, a decade ago, saw him toil at the hands of centurion Michael Clarke in the first innings before picking up two wickets in a frantic second innings of declaration batting as Australia tried in vain to beat the rain.

Ollie Robinson’s back spasms during the third Test made him the obvious fall guy, though he has a creditable 10 wickets at 28.40 in the current series and took four for 43 in last year’s Old Trafford win over South Africa.

Stuart Broad has an even better record than Anderson in Old Trafford Tests, with 44 wickets at 19.25 including two six-wicket hauls, and is the leading wicket-taker in this series with 16 at 24.93.

That is one wicket more than Australia captain Pat Cummins, while Mitchell Starc has 13. Nathan Lyon (nine) and Josh Hazlewood (eight) follow Robinson on that list, with the next places occupied by two England seamers who only came in at Headingley but quickly cemented their places.

Mark Wood produced astonishing pace to take five for 34 in the first innings and seven in the match, while he blazed 24 runs in England’s first innings and 16 in the second to see them over the line along with fellow series debutant Chris Woakes.

The Warwickshire all-rounder took three wickets in each innings and finished unbeaten on 32 as he struck the winning runs. Woakes also has 23 wickets at 18.48 in five Old Trafford Tests, with Wood set to play his first.

Promotion for Moeen

Moeen put his hand up to bat at number three in the second innings at Headingley and though he made just five, the experiment will be repeated.

It solves an England conundrum in Ollie Pope’s absence, with Harry Brook having made just three in the first innings, while Joe Root is most comfortable at number four, but has not been a productive spot for Moeen in Tests.

He has batted everywhere in the top nine in his 66 games, but mainly at six, seven or eight. That means some small statistical samples elsewhere but at number three he averages 13.14, consisting of 92 runs in seven innings. A strike rate of 32.39 is also hardly in keeping with England’s aggressive philosophy.

September 2018’s Test against India at the Oval accounts for 70 of his runs at number three, with scores of 50 and 20. He made nine against them in the previous Test and five in 2016, batting at three for the second innings only on each occasion, and a first-ball duck followed by three against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2018.

He averages 12.75 at number two but taking his six innings as an opener overall, that average of 14 leaves number three as his lowest anywhere in the order. His best is 51.20 at number four, while in his regular positions he averages 21.50 at number six, 33.48 at seven and 25.93 at eight, with an overall Test average of 27.82.

England have recalled James Anderson for the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

The 40-year-old Lancashire seamer will feature on home turf as he returns to the team in place of Ollie Robinson, the only change to the side that defeated Australia at Headingley in the third Test.

England kept the Ashes alive in Leeds after Yorkshireman Harry Brook steered the hosts to victory with 75 runs before Chris Woakes and Mark Wood’s match-winning partnership saw them over the line.

Ben Stokes’ side are 2-1 down in the series with another must-win game on the line in Manchester.

Another tweak to the side sees Moeen Ali promoted to bat at number three, with Ollie Pope ruled out for the rest of the series.

Brook had originally occupied the vacant spot, but all-rounder Ali, who was dismissed for five while batting at three in the second innings, was unexpectedly promoted after asking head coach Brendon McCullum if he could bat there.

“When I took the role on I asked for 10 other selfless cricketers,” England captain Stokes said post-match at Headingley.

“And that little moment of Mo going to Baz (McCullum) and saying, ‘I want the opportunity’ is everything that we’re about as a team.”

England have no concerns about their attacking ability despite failing to score in each of their last two matches, midfielder Ella Toone insists.

The Lionesses, fourth in the FIFA world rankings, kick off their World Cup quest on Saturday against Haiti in Brisbane, just over a week after playing out a goalless draw in a behind-closed-doors training fixture with Canada on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

It was the same result as their pre-tournament home send-off against Portugal in Milton Keynes on July 1, but Toone has barely heard the subject raised during team training sessions in Australia.

She said: “I don’t think it’s been spoken about as much as other people have. We’ve had a lot of games under Sarina (Wiegman), we’ve had a lot of different goalscorers who have scored so many goals, so I don’t think it’s anything that we’re worried about.

“Like I say, we’ve had time off, we’ve come back together, we’re learning how to play with each other again, we’re finding those connections on the pitch and we’re having those chances.

“I think I’d be more worried if the chances weren’t coming. It’s now about us putting them away, but I don’t think that’s had a massive effect on us. I don’t think that we’re dwelling on that.

“We’re very confident and we know we’ve got a lot of goalscorers in the group as well, so we’re definitely creating those chances. It’s now about making sure we put them in the back of the net.”

Friday’s match-up against seventh-ranked Canada was not for official records and not a formal fixture.

Almost all of Wiegman’s 23-woman squad saw some action, save goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck and forward Bethany England.

The decision not to play England, who was in Wiegman’s European Championship-winning squad but did not see any game time – started the social media rumour mill swirling, but the Tottenham striker appeared to be in good health as she fully trained with the squad on Saturday.

A total of 19 Lionesses were out on the pitch at the Sunshine Coast Stadium session, while Millie Bright, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Lauren James, Rachel Daly, Esme Morgan and Keira Walsh had a recovery day.

On Monday the team will swap seaside for city when they move into their Brisbane hotel ahead of their meeting with Haiti, who sit 53rd in the world rankings.

It seems Toone, who scored the first of England’s two goals in the 2-1 Euro 2022 final, will be especially sorry to say goodbye to the Sunshine Coast after a personally transformative time here.

She added: “I’ve been doing amazing things in Australia. I’ve really found myself here. I never normally wake up early, I’m a proper sleeper.

“But I woke up early the other day – six o’clock – I went and saw the sunrise. I absolutely love walking along the beach. And the other day I went into the sea as well. Luckily the girls got me some goggles as I can’t go in with my eyelashes (on).

“I was under the waves every single day and I thought, ‘Wow, this is me’. Going in the sea has definitely, really made me a changed woman. It’s got me trying different things.

“I always say (I’d do) it, but I’ve actually started reading so that’s nice. I’m reading Jamie Vardy’s autobiography at the minute. I don’t actually read novels, just autobiographies and they’ve got a few pictures in, so that helps!”

England midfielder Ella Toone believes the Lionesses’ person-centred approach to the World Cup has prevented players from feeling “like robots” as they deal with the more difficult elements of travelling halfway around the world.

Should the European champions advance from their July 22 Haiti opener all the way to the August 20th Sydney final, they will have spent nearly two months in tournament co-hosts Australia, with a nine-hour time difference and more than 10,000 miles between the Lionesses and loved ones at home.

While England have quickly gotten down to business in their Queensland training sessions, they have also been permitted plenty of downtime including organised whale-watching and zoo trips or casual bonding with team-mates at the tranquil team hotel.

Toone said: “We’re just normal people, aren’t we? And it’s hard to be away from home, and it’s sometimes hard to be on camp for such a long period of time, but that’s why we’ve got to make a home-away-from-home and I think that’s what we’ve done really well.

“We’ve got a fantastic group of players who want the same goal, and yeah, I think we have to have that environment where we can feel like we’re at home, and we’re not just robots on camp and doing the same thing day in and day out.

“It’s nice to have a bit of time off and spend time together as well, and get to see beautiful Australia as well, it definitely helps us feel like we’re not robots.”

England manager Sarina Wiegman earlier in the week used the “robot” analogy when she spoke about how the holistic human approach taken by the Lionesses coaching and support staff was a deliberate choice, drawn partially from her own experience as a Netherlands international.

The boss recalled moments where she found it difficult to balance the serious task of preparing for big competitions with the more fun side of travelling to take on the world with her team-mates.

Toone was part of Wiegman’s squad for last summer’s Wembley triumph, and is eager to help any of the six Lionesses – Niamh Charles, Laura Coombs, Lauren James, Esme Morgan, Katie Robinson and Katie Zelem – for whom this World Cup will be their first major tournament.

“Some days will be hard,” Toone added. “But you’ve got to speak to people, tell them how you’re feeling. But I think we’ve all been there, we’ve all had days where they’re all going to be a bit harder than other days.

“We’re away from family for a long time which is hard, and obviously the time difference doesn’t help. You’ve definitely got to lean on the people around you, you’ve got to open up and understand that days are going to be tough but it’s how you deal with that and how you get on with it.”

England defender Alex Greenwood says the Lionesses are keeping their egos firmly in check as they begin their quest for a maiden World Cup title in a week’s time.

Greenwood’s first experience of the global showpiece was in 2015, when the Lionesses achieved a team-best third-place finish in Canada, and alongside Lucy Bronze is one of just two players on manager Sarina Wiegman’s current roster to have featured in three consecutive World Cups.

Perhaps more than any previous edition, the Lionesses enter this tournament firmly among the favourites to go all the way and unseat two-time defending champions the United States after winning the Euro 2022 final to lift their first major trophy.

Asked how she would rate the sense of belief in the England camp, Greenwood said: “We’re European champions for a reason. High but very humble as well, and we’re a team that’s hard-working and a team I think that’s focused on the job in hand, but I think right now the focus is on the first game and not past that.”

The Lionesses, fourth in the FIFA world rankings, will first take on Haiti – 49 places below them – in Brisbane before travelling to Sydney to face 13th-placed Denmark and conclude the group stage in Adelaide against China, who are 14th.

For the first time the competition has expanded to 32 teams, with the top two from each group progressing to the knockouts. The prize pot has also increased to 110 million US dollars (£84.7million), more than three times what was on offer at the 2019 World Cup in France though still paling in comparison to the 440 million US dollars (£337m) distributed after the 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar.

That progress is what makes this third trip particularly special for 29-year-old tournament veteran Greenwood, who has played her club football with Manchester City since 2020.

Speaking after a team training session at Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Stadium, she said: “It’s the biggest Women’s World Cup we’ve had in history. It speaks for itself and I think the capability of teams in this tournament is huge.

“The excitement for the tournament, what women’s football’s done and where we’re at now makes it a more attractive tournament if you want to say. But yeah, I think year-on-year and tournament-on-tournament the game’s growing and this one speaks for itself.”

The Lionesses left England on July 5 and have been staying on the Sunshine Coast, where they’ve spotted kangaroos roaming the hotel grounds and have been able to enjoy local highlights from whale-watching to observing animals at the zoo.

On Monday England will transfer to their team hotel in Brisbane ahead of their Haiti encounter.

Keeping busy has helped alleviate some of the hardship of the long distance from loved ones and missing the comforts of home, a situation Greenwood mitigates by looking at the bigger picture.

She added: “I think the dream and what we want to achieve remains consistent in my mind. So that makes obviously the sacrifice and being halfway around the world from your family a lot easier, but obviously I feel very blessed and lucky to be in this position.

“So I grab the opportunity with both hands and want to make everyone proud really.”

Ella Toone says her superb goal helping England triumph in the Euro 2022 final is “still a pinch-me moment” – and the kind of feeling she wants more of as she heads into her first World Cup nearly a year on.

Substitute Toone opened the scoring in the Wembley showdown against Germany with a wonderful lofted effort en route to the 2-1 victory that gave the Lionesses their first ever major trophy.

The 23-year-old Manchester United midfielder told the PA news agency: “It’s still a pinch-me moment – I still sometimes don’t think it’s sunk in.

“But the best feeling I’ve had in football, and one that I want to make sure I have over and over again.

“I’ve had that feeling of what winning is like and I definitely want to make sure that throughout my career I make sure I win more trophies.”

Toone is now preparing for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand that gets under way next Thursday, with Sarina Wiegman’s team opening their campaign two days later by facing Haiti in Brisbane.

Having come off the bench in each match during the Euros – most often for Fran Kirby, who has been ruled out of the World Cup by a knee injury – Toone has started 10 of 12 England fixtures since, and been a key member of a United outfit that achieved club-best finishes as runners-up in the Women’s Super League and FA Cup.

On her potential role at this tournament, Toone said: “I’m not putting too much pressure on myself and I’ll make sure whatever role Sarina asks of me I give 100 per cent, whether that’s starting or coming off the bench, I’ll make sure I’m ready for that.

“I think since the Euros I’ve just wanted to keep improving as a player and keep working hard.

“I know I have a lot of stuff that I need to keep working hard on, but I’m definitely ready to get out onto the world stage. It’s something I’ve dreamed of as a little girl, so I need to make sure I enjoy every minute of it.”

Somebody Toone has had alongside her for the highs of the past year at international and club level, and many experiences prior to that, is Alessia Russo, the player she describes as her “best friend”.

Striker Russo, another effective England substitute last summer that has been a regular starter since, is no longer Toone’s United team-mate, having left to join Arsenal earlier this month.

Regarding Russo’s departure from United, Toone said: “I think for both of us our focus is on the World Cup and stepping out there together, hopefully playing there together.

“It is what it is. It’s football and people move on. No matter what, I know we will be friends for life. Whatever Alessia does I want her to do the best in.”

The pair have known each other for some time, with Toone saying: “We started our journeys off aged 14 at England camps, we went through all the age groups together, and then we stepped out at the Euros together and won that.

“We lived together for a bit, it was more in Covid times. We couldn’t get rid of each other!

“It makes it 100 per cent better – not many people can say they’ve achieved some of the best things in life with their best friends.

“So it’s definitely been nice to share all those special memories together, and to see where we were and where we’re at now and what we’ve achieved is amazing.”

After starting their bid for World Cup glory with the Haiti match, England – also without skipper Leah Williamson and Beth Mead at the tournament due to ACL injuries – will face Denmark and then China in Group D.

“I think for us it’s going out there, inspiring the next generation and making the nation proud,” Toone said.

“We know we have a big target on our backs after the summer but we thrive off that pressure and we’ll just make sure we go out there, enjoy ourselves and believe in ourselves and see what happens.”

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